US Navy vet’s kid traces his WWII Derry footsteps

Donna and Ramsey Huffman with Conor Donnelly (on left) at the Base One Europe Museum at the Beech Hill.
Donna and Ramsey Huffman with Conor Donnelly (on left) at the Base One Europe Museum at the Beech Hill.

The daughter of a US Navy WWII veteran has been tracing her father’s footsteps in Derry.

Donna Huffman, from Decatur, Alabama, had been hearing stories of her father’s war-time experiences in Derry for much of her life and she shared some of these tales during a recent visit to the Base One Europe Museum at Derry’s Beech Hill Country House Hotel.

Donna Huffman visits Aberfoyle House with Dr. Malachy ONeill, Provost, UU Magee.

Donna Huffman visits Aberfoyle House with Dr. Malachy ONeill, Provost, UU Magee.

Donna and her husband Ramsey also took time out to explore Aberfoyle House - her dad’s wartime home in Derry - which is located on Ulster University’s Magee campus.

John S. Hambrick first arrived in Derry in early 1942.

“My father was a Lieutenant Commander in charge of convoy communications during the Battle of the Atlantic,” recalls Donna.

“Although his experience was during wartime, he spoke well of the area and people. He always wanted to return and revisit his second home but never had that opportunity.

“I have heard so much of this area all of my life and I wanted to take an opportunity to see whatever is still available related to his experience during that time.”

The Base One Europe Museum at the Beech Hill is in discussions with Donna regarding further research of her father’s papers, photographs and souvenirs - which will add to the existing exhibition at the Beech Hill and a planned sister exhibition at Magee.

Provost of the Ulster University’s Magee Campus, Dr Malachy Ó Néill, welcomed Donna to Aberfoyle House.